Over the years we’ve been bombarded with news and advertisements from various profit and non-profit organizations as well as political pundits and their rhetoric that saturate us with claims about poor people having no other choice but to eat fast foods instead of healthy foods and as a result are often obese or overweight. The purpose of this post is to provide some contrarian food for thought.
I say “poor” and not poor, because as I’ve pointed out in other posts, the poverty level as determined by the government is a farce, and the “poor” are not really poor.
In the county where I live there is a farmer’s market inside of a popular swap meet. Being an east coast native, right coasters know swap meets as flea markets, except all or most of the goods at a swap meet are new, not used or antique like you would see at a garage sale style flea market.
I routinely visit this swap meet and its farmers market for fresh produce from the local farms. Keep in mind that Orange County, CA is a pretty well-off county. It’s not cheap to live here so you can expect the prices of most anything to be higher.
The pictures I have attached and the list provided below are an actual shopping trip to this farmer’s market to show how cheap healthy foods can be acquired.
It costs $2 to get into the swap meet per person, but the farmer’s market often provides two free passes with each purchase making the net entrance cost $0. Free passes can also be downloaded from the Orange County Register making even the first visit free.
Here is what I bought for only $8.00.
- 10 Plums
- 4 Bosc Pears
- 19 Mushrooms
- 7 Small Green Apples
- 18 Roma Tomatoes
- 11 Persian Cucumbers
- 8 Bartlett Pears
- 8 Nectarines
- 2 Grapefruit
All told, 22 pounds of produce.
For a very unscientific but useful comparison, let’s compare apples to apples by comparing one of my pears to a Deluxe Angus burger from McDonalds on a per ounce cost basis. One of my pears is about 4.9 oz for 81 calories. A McDonalds Deluxe Angus burger is about 11.1 oz for 760 calories. My pear from the market cost about $0.02 an ounce, while the burger costs $0.36 an ounce. Therefore, the burger is 18 times more expensive per ounce and has 9 times more calories. Or more directly, the “poor” could get 11 pounds of produce for every Deluxe Burger they buy.
Some will argue that you can’t buy meat at a farmer’s market, and I agree. So I did a quick search online for my local Stater Brothers chain grocery store. This week’s ad has chuck steak on sale for $2.77 a pound. That comes out to $0.17 an ounce compared to the burgers $0.36 an ounce. The burger is still twice as much money, and meat is always on sale at some grocery store somewhere near you.
Politicians and many organizations turn profits by parting you from your money. I am not saying there are not legitimate poor that need our help, there are. But the numbers and their condition that are beer bonged down our throats are severely overblown to illicit an emotional reaction from you that’s followed by the sound of money sliding out of your wallet or the pushing of a political voting button.
This is why I believe all charity should start at home, just like I believe that all politics should be local. It’s easier to hold politicians and organizations accountable when they are headquartered down the street and help people just up the way from you. You can more easily influence what they do, see the results of their efforts, and improve your own community. Once politics and charity reach the national level, you lose visibility, accountability and control of what your money does. Hence, the out of control spending and the debt crushing of America that we have today as our money and our politics are controlled and spent thousands of miles away.
So why do the “poor” who are overweight or obese buy more fast food than healthy food? It’s not because it’s too expensive, it’s because it’s “cheap” and it requires the least amount of effort. We need to face the truth. There are people who become “poor” through no fault of their own, but there are many more people who are “poor” because they choose to be. Some people just don’t want to put in the effort, or make strings of bad decisions or find it easier to accept a victim mentality than blame themselves for their own laziness and shortcomings.
With the cornucopia of city, county, state and federal welfare programs and subsidies, it’s easy for the lazy and the “poor” to live high on the hog. Free begets more freeloaders so these numbers swell as our wallets shrink.
So why should we be surprised when those “poor” that are just lazy choose fast food over cooking a healthy meal and become obese, blaming it on how expensive healthy food is? This whining of course attracts the bleeding heart liberals always looking for a new righteous cause to take your money and hand it over to the “poor” and obese just so the liberals can feel better about themselves. Such is the victicrate and liberal symbiotic circle of life.
The rhetoric and the reality, as is often the case, are light years apart.